HOME Secretary Priti Patel has been criticised for not doing enough to tackle illegal immigration amid the Coronavirus pandemic as Brits are lockdown and pubs are closed, yet migrants continue to pour in the country.
Tory MP’s are raising concerns but the main political figure questioning this is the former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who covered the issue for LBC, leading to the police to contact him over violating lockdown rules.
Conservative MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke has said: “Today’s brazen illegal crossings as we celebrate #VEDay75 is another reminder why firm action is needed to stop the ruthless smuggling gangs & return boats to France.”
“Since December I have been calling on the home secretary to ensure small boats are returned to France and that we put an end to these illegal small boat crossings organised by criminal gangs.
“The home secretary has listened and taken action. This week she agreed fresh steps with France with more stringent patrols and work towards returns.
“Only when migrants and traffickers alike know that they will not succeed in breaking into Britain in this way will these dangerous journeys cease.”
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell wrote a letter to Patel so the issue could be tackled.
Patel sais she was ‘listening to concerns about migrant boats and taking action’ and the main solution that came out of a meeting was to ‘increase financial support to the French to try and tackle the issue’.
The Dover MP @NatalieElphicke says the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is listening to concerns about migrant boats and taking action. The Home Office says it will increase financial support to the French to try to tackle the issue. pic.twitter.com/Hg8s4qtx2p
— Simon Jones (@SimonJonesNews) May 8, 2020
Many have criticised Patel for this solution, feeling it wasn’t doing enough to tackle the problem.
User Alison Parr felt that it was simply ‘paying France’ (arguing that the Dublin III regulation – which determines the EU’s asylum policies, and affects non-EU members like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland – should be revoked) and Dover based business owner Clive Solly replied to the message with a bunch of angry emojis to express his frustration at nothing being done.
Populist commentator and former UKIP Lambeth representative David Poulden highlighted that she should simply ‘stop the boats’, and former UKIP leader Gerard Batten felt that she ‘shouldn’t ask the French’ and instead should ‘use what’s left of the Navy for something useful’ by turning the boats back.
We must revoke the Dublin 111 Regulation, which allows people who have travelled over several countries to claim asylum anywhere they choose. Otherwise all we can do is keep paying France to hold them back.
Just imagine what France will do when we move to reclaim our fisheries.
— Alison Parr (@Uptotherewithit) May 8, 2020
— Clive Solly 🇬🇧🏴 (@BillsBaitShop) May 8, 2020
STOP THE BOATS https://t.co/ErWrssCTEF
— David Poulden Esq®️ (@DavidPoulden) May 8, 2020
Meanwhile, others simply felt that she was all talk, no action. Nature based Twitter account Cowslip stated that there should be ‘no more money to France’ and Parish Councillor Brian Silvester argued that people concerned didn’t want Patel to ‘listen to concerns but ‘turn the boats back’.
No more money to France. They clearly have no wish to stop the crossings – they support migrants in getting to Calais & on boats.
Police the English Channel, turn dinghys around before they get half way. Don't pick them up & don't land them on UK soil. @patel4witham
— Cowslip (@FibonacciNature) May 8, 2020
Actions speak louder than words. https://t.co/RniARl9kGS
— Migration Watch (@MigrationWatch) May 8, 2020
Former MEP Janice Atkinson felt it was odd that ‘we can’t do anything about returning illegal migrants to France until after Brexit transition ends’ and suggesting that it was only a matter of time until there was ‘none left in Calais camps’. Immigration restrictions advocacy group Migration Watch UK also highlighted that for them, it was a case of ‘actions speak louder than words’.